Thursday, October 20, 2011

On: Magic in The City and the Current Reading List

While specific books and I have certain and often complex relationships that I won't get into now, with Books in general I've noticed a sort of cycle. It starts with a twinge, perhaps after reading a review, or seeing the same book a few times - a sort of slight ping in my mind, a switch being pressed that says: "Why aren't you reading!?" Then, I move on and get busy and weeks will go by, but all the while, I will begin to crave reading. It will be a source of anxiety of sorts, of me being silly and not making time for what I want most.

Finally, I'll make way to The Library and spend a few happy hours browsing, looking, being lost, being frustrated, wondering why I'd waited so long - and come home to at least  half dozen tomes that could be anything and wonder how I'll have the time to read half of my haul. I then read one book, or two at once, get enthralled or get bored, pick up another, or ignore them all and rack up fines and finally return them. Then, a few weeks will go by and the same will start all over.

It's a bit of a silly pattern, but I followed it even while living in Columbus, just an alley away from the Main Library there, which, to this day remains as one of my favorite places on Earth. Whoever runs that ship sure know what they're doing and it's something that's truly lacking in Chicago's 100 times larger system.

But. Something that I didn't have in Columbus was something I find ever-present here in Chicago. It's not a thing or place and it's not even anything I can describe in concrete terms. It is more of a sensation and a consistent, persistent thought, like some great inside joke about to be told that only a portion of the city is directly aware of that nonetheless affects and impacts the city each and every day, if only you let it. It may be silly, but the only word I have for it is magic.

Of course, it's not unicorns or bolts of thunder. It's not even anything terribly interesting, but there are a lot of coincidences that happen here all the time. It's getting on the train with absolute strangers and then, on your commute back, seeing the very same people, several days in a row, all at wildly different times. It's thinking about how to contact someone and then having that person get in touch. It's thinking, "Oh, I wonder if that book that finished the trilogy that I started ever got written?" - and it being the first thing you see when going to the library for the first time in months, which of course happened to me last weekend, with the book you see above that I am now reading and very much enjoying. These things are all minor, and I wouldn't think to comment on any of them, unless they happened all the time, constantly and consistently.

If that's just part of living here, then I am all for it. It's odd, bizarre and sometimes startling, but it's part of the wonderful vibrancy that brought me here is allowing me to now thrive.

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